Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp

Bergen, Germany

Bergen-Belsen was a Nazi concentration camp in what is today Lower Saxony in northern Germany, southwest of the town of Bergen near Celle. Originally established as a prisoner of war camp, in 1943, parts of it became a concentration camp. Initially this was an 'exchange camp', where Jewish hostages were held with the intention of exchanging them for German prisoners of war held overseas. The camp was later expanded to accommodate Jews from other concentration camps.

After 1945 the name was applied to the displaced persons camp established nearby, but it is most commonly associated with the concentration camp. From 1941 to 1945, almost 20,000 Soviet prisoners of war and a further 50,000 inmates died there. Overcrowding, lack of food and poor sanitary conditions caused outbreaks of typhus, tuberculosis, typhoid fever and dysentery, leading to the deaths of more than 35,000 people in the first few months of 1945, shortly before and after the liberation.

The camp was liberated on April 15, 1945, by the British 11th Armoured Division. The soldiers discovered approximately 60,000 prisoners inside, most of them half-starved and seriously ill, and another 13,000 corpses lying around the camp unburied. The horrors of the camp, documented on film and in pictures, made the name 'Belsen' emblematic of Nazi crimes in general for public opinion in many countries in the immediate post-1945 period. Today, there is a memorial with an exhibition hall at the site.

Among those who never left Bergen-Belsen were Margot and Anne Frank, who died there in February or March 1945.

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Details

Founded: 1935
Category: Miscellaneous historic sites in Germany
Historical period: Nazi Germany (Germany)

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Carlo Comi (6 months ago)
Worth visiting. Clean and tidy place. Good information and easy to access
Namrog Nivek (7 months ago)
Lots of the display ground/ in the floor glass cabinets lights were inoperable so difficult to see displays
Brian Morton (10 months ago)
Another very humbling experience. This was our third camp that we went to on our trip to Germany. We were not expecting to be here long, because unlike Sachsenhausen and Dachau, Bergen Belsen does not have any structures up besides the visitors center/exhibit....but we ended up visiting for about 3 hours. While the building didn't really take long, walking the grounds and reading the signs of where things were, the memorial and graves took the majority of time. I would recommend coming here.
bridgeen whittle (10 months ago)
Wow, what a moving, thought provoking and awful place. I cried most of the way around the site and the museum. They have a place for reflection as well as well signed areas of interest.
Jeremy Kraus (2 years ago)
We went on a weekend morning, the countryside is very picturesque coming into the memorial. It is free entry and you have about 2km of walking in the memorial so wearing good shoes is a must as it can be very muddy. Very educational and emotionally charging. Lots of people were placing stones on the graves, this is a mark of respect in Judaism, and you can add to it. The adjacent museum is also very well presented and gives a good understanding of the camp.
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